ICCEC Estonia Summer Camp 2019

Updated: Jan 7

For a Christian living in Estonia, summer is an important time of the year. Summer camps and pilgrimages are easily accessible to everyone compared to Soviet times (30 years ago), without any obviously restrictive limits based on one´s personal denomination. This year for the Charismatic Episcopal Church of Estonia there is reason to be grateful for the financial support provided by the Estonian Council of Churches, an organisation with whom the CEC has been a member since 2002 (initially holding observer status and since 2006 as a fully-fledged member). We are a small group among Lutherans, Orthodox and Roman Catholics as well as numerous Free Church fellowships (and, for example the Armenian Orthodox Church with whom we are comparable in a regional context) although our role within the organisation is always officially recognised and appreciated.



For a Christian living in Estonia, summer is an important time of the year. Summer camps and pilgrimages are easily accessible to everyone compared to Soviet times (30 years ago), without any obviously restrictive limits based on one´s personal denomination. This year for the Charismatic Episcopal Church of Estonia there is reason to be grateful for the financial support provided by the Estonian Council of Churches, an organisation with whom the CEC has been a member since 2002 (initially holding observer status and since 2006 as a fully-fledged member). We are a small group among Lutherans, Orthodox and Roman Catholics as well as numerous Free Church fellowships (and, for example the Armenian Orthodox Church with whom we are comparable in a regional context) although our role within the organisation is always officially recognized and appreciated.


Friday night began with the annual hoisting the national flag accompanied by words of welcome from Father Thomas Eriste. Following Evensong and a pleasant meal we gathered in the main hall and organised into four distinct groups, each group discussing the particular aspects and details which broadly covered the issue of living the daily Christian life. Particularly noteworthy were the conclusions drawn by group leaders Karin Proosa and Aet Mariliise Eriste. Some points of discussion included the following; learning how to follow through issues which may be very different to our own personally held beliefs; developing empathy with those who turn to us for a listening ear; learning to create a neutral stance and avoiding the tendency to be overly critical; developing techniques of approaching someone in obvious need in a way they would appreciate being understood at a deeply personal level. The evening concluded with a small group of enthusiasts who gathered around the campfire to worship in song and give praise to Almighty God.


Saturday began with Morning Prayer led by acolyte Andreas Kivi and cantor Riho Kinksaar. Most of the day was focused on our theme subject. Father Thomas spoke on the importance of recognizing the need to turn around and begin moving in the opposite direction-back towards God. This should go hand in hand with one´s regular participation at Mass where we meet Christ in the fullness of his resurrection glory, especially at the table of Communion. The second speaker was our guest and dear friend Fr Dana Jackson from St Stephens Church, London. Father Dana focused on the Church as family. He drew on numerous teachings from the New Testament to confirm the witness of the church family as our life support and safety net in order to remain faithful to our daily calling in Christ. Following these talks was a short musical exploration from brother Juhan Palm-Peipman into the world of music, in which the "key" to music is the key in which it is written, designating with force a composition´s emotional impact upon the listener. This session was followed by a Biblical quiz led by Aet Mariliise Eriste and Joosep Mattis Eriste. What a joy it is to have the opportunity of improving one´s knowledge of the Bible, especially when Northern Europeans like us do so under a hot basking sun! Lunch came forthwith, and many thanks as always go to Regyta Eriste and her wonderful team who provide us with such tasty meals. The remainder of the afternoon was free time, either to rest and recuperate before evening Mass, or to speak at more length among friends about matters of the heart.


Sunday morning was preparation for Mass, preceded by a very important question and answer time. One is never quite sure how these improvised sessions turn out, but this particular one was deeply moving and spirit-filled. It is remarkable to note how our priests have a God-ordained way of carrying out their mission. I for one was deeply moved in the spirit and grateful for this time of reflection and seeking personal forgiveness in areas of my life, particularly since the subject of Confession arose as one question in need of an answer. I am certain other people were similarly touched by the Spirit of God.


Father Thomas was the celebrant at our Sunday morning Mass and the homily was presented by Father Dana. Worship throughout the weekend was led by the young Eriste team (and friends), and Regyta Eriste did a great job translating from English to Estonian. Father Dana is now "quite open and at ease" with the Estonian language and we local folk eagerly anticipate hearing his first homily in Estonian at some future date😎.


Plans are already underway for next year´s camp, and God willing we hope to return to this wonderful location at Saaremaa in 2020. by: Juhan Palm-Peipman

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